Palm Oil Farmers Demanding to Reformulation of FFB’s Price

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Smallholder oil palm plantations in Indonesia have shown remarkable developments over the last few decades. In the late 1970s, there was no such thing as smallholder farmer in Indonesian palm oil statistics. However, thanks to the program initiated by the Indonesian government in the form of nucleus-plasma partnerships and also the courage and independence of the people to become independent oil palm farmers in cultivating their oil palm plantations, has implications for the quite revolutionary development of oil palm plantations.

This is also confirmed by the Palm Oil Statistics (2020), the area of ​​smallholder oil palm plantations increased from only around 6 thousand hectares in 1980 to 5.8 million hectares in 2018, or the share reached 41 percent. The development of smallholder farmers in oil palm plantations such a way has also succeeded in making Indonesia the king of world CPO, as well as becoming the leader in the global vegetable oil market.

People, through their oil palm plantations, which have developed and grown in remote areas where economic life has not yet developed, are able to become a “torch” to the village economy and regional economic development through increasing income, creating job opportunities and reducing poverty (PASPI, 2016). This means that through oil palm plantations, the farmer are able to make themselves and their families prosperous and also able to become pioneers of economic actors in rural and remote areas.

However, behind the large contribution made, smallholder farmers, especially 2.1 million independent oil palm farmers, still feel injustice, especially in relation to the purchase price of Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB).

FFB
Source: infopublik.id

Currently, the determination of the purchase price for FFB is based on the Peraturan Menteri Pertanian Republik Indonesia No. 01/PERMENTAN/KB.120/2018 concerning Guidelines for Establishing Purchase Prices for Fresh Oil Palm Fruit Bunches for Smaller Production. The price formulation is determined by the Team for Pricing to Purchase FFB at the provincial level which consists of provincial and city/district governments, oil palm plantation companies/associations and representatives of oil palm farmers/associations, at least once every month although there are several teams that formulate prices every week or twice a month. And of the 25 palm oil center provinces, only six have followed up on this regulation, namely: North Sumatra, Bangka Belitung Islands, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and South Sumatra. The purpose of this regulation is to provide protection for oil palm farmers in obtaining a fair price for FFB and avoid unfair competition between plantation companies or mills.

If we look from the objectives, this regulation seeks to improve welfare, equity and justice for smallholders, both plasma and independent. However, the facts are far from expectations, that not all oil palm farmers receive the same price when selling FFB to Palm Oil Mills. According to Gulat Manurung, Chairman of APKASINDO, the current FFB price is divided into three groups, namely: the FFB price for the internal group of the Palm Oil Mill, the FFB price for plasma farmers and the FFB price for independent smallholders farmers. And this regulation does not specifically regulate three price groups for each FFB producer, so that the Palm Oil Mill, on a top-down basis, can freely determine the price of the FFB, especially to indenpendent smallholder farmers.

In Palm Oil Mill, the FFB prices which accepted by independent smallholders famers are not appropriate and even much lower than the FFB formulation prices set by the Provincial Level FFB Pricing Team. Independent farmers receive a FFB price discount of around 60-70% of the FFB price received by plasma farmers. Apart from being cut because they are not from plasma farmers/company partners, independent oil palm farmers must also receive another discount, namely the assumption that there is about 10 percent waste. Especially when the harvest is high, the independent smallholders’ FFB will be increasingly characterized by Palm Oil Mill because the supply is sufficient from plasma, the implication is that the price of independent smallholders FFB will be lower.

The Chairperson of APKASINDO also said that oil palm smallholder farmers between regions receive a relatively large difference in FFB prices. For example, farmers in South Sulawesi and West Sulawesi receive a FFB price of 50 percent of the average FFB price in North Sumatra and Riau, even though FFB everywhere will produce CPO. The leader of one of the oil palm farmer associations also joked about the relatively large price difference by questioning whether the FFB of the South Sulawesi farmers only produced CPO crust instead of oil, so the price was very low.

In addition to lower FFB prices, oil palm farmers are also demanding a revision of the FFB price formula by including one of the palm biomass which has a high economy, namely shells. The potential of palm kernel shells as an environmentally friendly and inexpensive energy source has been in great demand by global markets such as Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Poland.

Japan, as an importer of palm kernel shells, uses this biomass to generate electricity with the Feed-in Tariff scheme. Even the Japanese Government through the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) issued an incentive policy for power plant companies that use palm kernel shells as their raw material.

The large global market demand for palm shell products has implications for an increase in the selling price of palm kernel shells. The Chairperson of the Asosiasi Pengusaha Cangkang Sawit Indonesia (APCASI) confirmed this, where the high demand can pushed up the selling price of palm kernel shells at the factory level this year, namely Rp. 800 thousand/ton-Rp. 1,000,000/ton, compared to last year’s around Rp. 500 thousand/ton – Rp 600 thousand/ton excluding VAT. By accommodating the economic value of biomass such as palm kernel shells, it is expected that it can increase the price of FFB and prevent underestimations.

The dialogue was also attended by Dr. Donald Siahaan, a senior researcher at the Oil Palm Research Center (IOPRI), who also suggested that the Provincial Team should update the general rendement data every 3-5 years according to natural developments and plantation management. This needs to be done to minimize the underestimated FFB price formulation.

Suggestions from representatives of oil palm farmers and experts in the national palm oil sector regarding the revision of the FFB price formula in the Regulation 01/2018 have also been responded to by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Indonesia. It’s expected that this dialogue can produce a win-win solution for all national palm oil industry players, especially independent smallholder farmers, so that their welfare can increase and they feel treated fairly and equally.

Perkebunan sawit rakyat di Indonesia menunjukkan perkembangan yang luar biasa selama beberapa dekade terakhir ini. Pada akhir tahun 1970-an, belum ada yang namanya sawit rakyat dalam statitistik Indonesia. Namun, berkat program yang digagas oleh Pemerintah Indonesia dalam bentuk kemitraan inti-plasma dan program kemitraan lainnya serta keberanian dan kemandirian rakyat menjadi petani sawit swadaya dalam mengusahakan perkebunan sawitnya berimplikasi pada perkembangan perkebunan sawit yang cukup revolusioner.

Hal tersebut terkonfirmasi dari Statistik Kelapa Sawit (2020), luas kebun sawit rakyat meningkat dari hanya sekitar 6 ribu hektar tahun 1980 menjadi 5.8 juta hektar pada tahun 2018, atau pangsanya mencapai 41 persen. Perkembangan perkebunan sawit rakyat  yang sedemikian rupa juga berhasil membawa Indonesia menjadi raja CPO dunia, sekaligus menjadi pemimpin pasar minyak nabati dunia.

Rakyat melalui perkebunan sawitnya yang banyak berkembang dan tumbuh di daerah pelosok dimana kehidupan ekonomi belum berkembang, mampu menjadi “obor” yang menerangi perekonomian desa dan pembangunan ekonomi daerah melalui peningkatan pendapatan, penciptaan kesempatan kerja dan pengurangan kemiskinan (PASPI, 2016). Artinya melalui kebun sawit, rakyat mampu menyejahterakan dirinya dan keluarganya namun juga mampu menjadi pioner aktor ekonomi di daerah-daerah pinggiran dan terpencil.

Namun dibalik besarnya kontribusi yang dihasilkan, petani sawit rakyat khususnya 2.1 juta petani sawit swadaya masih merasakan ketidakadilan khususnya terkait dengan penetapan harga pembeliaan Tandan Buah Segar (TBS).

FFB
Source: infopublik.id

Saat ini, penetapan harga pembelian TBS berdasarkan Peraturan Menteri Pertanian Republik Indonesia No. 01/PERMENTAN/KB.120/2018 tentang Pedoman Penetapan Harga Pembelian Tandan Buah Segar Kelapa Sawit Produksi Pekebun. Formulasi harga tersebut ditetapkan oleh Tim Penetapan Harga Pembelian TBS di tingkat Provinsi yang terdiri dari pemerintah daerah provinsi dan kota/kabupaten, perusahaan perkebunan sawit/asosiasi dan perwakilan petani sawit/asosiasi, minimal sekali setiap bulan meskipun ada beberapa tim yang melakukan formulasi harga setiap minggu atau dua kali sebulan. Dan dari 25 provinsi sentra sawit, baru enam provinsi yang telah menindaklanjuti Permentan tersebut, yaitu: Sumatera Utara, Kepulauan Bangka Belitung, Kalimantan Barat, Kalimantan Selatan dan Sumatera Selatan. Tujuan dari Permentan tersebut adalah untuk memberikan perlindungan kepada petani sawit dalam memperoleh harga TBS yang wajar dan menghindari persaingan tidak sehat diantara perusahaan perkebunan atau pabrik.

Dilihat dari tujuan, Permentan tersebut berupaya untuk meningkatkan kesejahteraan, pemerataan dan keadilan bagi petani sawit rakyat baik plasma maupun swadaya. Namun, fakta di lapangan jauh dari harapan yaitu tidak semua petani sawit menerima harga yang sama pada saat menjual TBS ke Pabrik Kelapa Sawit (PKS). Menurut Gulat Manurung, Ketua APKASINDO, harga TBS saat ini terbagi menjadi tiga kelompok yaitu: harga TBS untuk internal grup dari PKS tersebut, harga TBS untuk petani plasma dan harga TBS untuk petani swadaya. Dan dalam Permentan 01/2018 tersebut tidak mengatur secara spesifik tiga kelompok harga untuk masing-masing produsen TBS, sehingga PKS secara top down dapat bebas menentukan harga TBS yang dibelinya khususnya kepada petani swadaya.

Di PKS, harga TBS petani swadaya tidak sesuai bahkan jauh lebih rendah dibandingkan dengan harga formulasi TBS di yang telah ditetapkan oleh Tim Penetapan Harga TBS tingkat Provinsi. Petani sawit swadaya menerima discount harga TBS sekitar 60-70% dari harga TBS yang diterima oleh petani plasma. Selain dipotong karena bukan dari petani plasma/mitra perusahaan, petani sawit swadaya juga harus menerima potongan lain yakni asumsi ada sampah sekitar 10 persen. Terlebih ketika panen raya, TBS petani swadaya akan semakin di-anak-tirikan oleh PKS karena suplainya sudah tercukupi dari plasma, implikasinya harga TBS petani swadaya akan semakin rendah.

Ketua APKASINDO juga menyampaikan bahwa petani sawit antar daerah menerima perbedaan harga TBS dengan selisih yang relatif besar. Contohnya, petani sawit di Sulawesi Selatan dan Sulawesi Barat menerima harga TBS sebesar 50 persen dari rata-rata harga TBS di Sumatera Utara dan Riau, padahal TBS dimanapun akan menghasilkan CPO. Leader dari salah satu asosiasi petani sawit tersebut juga berkelakar tentang selisih harga yang relatif besar tersebut dengan mempertanyakan apakah TBS Petani di Sulawesi Selatan tersebut hanya menghasilkan kerak CPO bukan minyaknya, sehingga harganya sangat rendah.

Selain harga TBS yang lebih rendah, petani sawit juga menuntut revisi formula harga TBS dengan memasukkan salah satu biomassa sawit yang memiliki ekonomi tinggi yaitu cangkang. Potensi cangkang sawit sebagai sumber energi yang ramah lingkungan dan murah sudah banyak diminati oleh pasar global seperti Jepang, China, Korea Selatan, Taiwan, Thailand dan Polandia.

Jepang sebagai salah satu negara importir cangkang sawit memanfaatkan biomassa tersebut untuk digunakan sebagai pembangkit listrik dengan skema Feed-in Tariff. Bahkan Pemerintah Jepang melalui Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) mengeluarkan kebijakan insentif bagi perusahaan pembangkit listrik yang menggunakan cangkang sawit sebagai bahan bakunya.

Besarnya permintaan pasar global terhadap produk cangkang sawit berimplikasi pada kenaikan harga jual cangkang sawit. Ketua Umum Asosiasi Pengusaha Cangkang Sawit Indonesia (APCASI) mengkonfirmasi hal tersebut dimana tingginya permintaan cangkang mendorong kenaikan harga jual cangkang sawit di tingkat pabrik pada tahun ini yakni sebesar Rp 800 ribu/ton-Rp 1.000.000/ton, dibandingkan tahun lalu yakni berkisar Rp 500 ribu/ton- Rp 600 ribu/ton belum PPN. Dengan mengakomodir nilai ekonomi dari biomassa seperti cangkang sawit, diharapkan dapat meningkatkan harga TBS dan mencegah underestimate.

Dalam dialog tersebut juga dihadiri oleh Dr. Donald Siahaan, peneliti senior di Pusat Penelitian Kelapa Sawit (PPKS), yang juga menyarankan agar Tim Provinsi harus meng-update data rendemen umum setiap 3-5 tahun sesuai dengan perkembangan alam dan manajemen perkebunan. Hal ini perlu dilakukan untuk meminimalisir formulasi harga TBS yang underestimate.

Saran dari para perwakilan petani sawit dan para expert di bidang perkelapasawitan nasional terkait  revisi formula harga TBS dalam Permentan 01/2018 juga telah ditanggapi oleh Kementerian Pertanian Republik Indonesia. Diharapkan dengan adanya dialog tersebut dapat menghasilkan suatu regulasi yang win-win solution bagi seluruh pelaku industri sawit nasional, terutama petani swadaya, sehingga kesejahteraannya dapat meningkat serta merasa diperlakukan adil dan sama rasa.

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